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We know a few things about Tommy Lasorda.

Tommy Lasorda is not a smart man. But he is a horny man.

Tommy Lasorda is not an even-tempered man. But he is a willful man.

Now we know something new about Tommy Lasorda: he has an active imagination.

Lasorda writes in his MLB blog that Robert F. Kennedy, on the day that he was assassinated, asked to have dinner with Lasorda and his wife.

Lasorda says he was scheduled to dine with Kennedy on June 4, 1968, the day Kennedy accepted the Democratic nomination for President. Before his dinner date, Lasorda says he went to watch Don Drysdale pitch for the Dodgers. He says he left the game early because his shoes were hurting his feet and when he got home he saw on TV that Kennedy had been shot.

The L.A. Times’ Opinion blog was first to point out the flaws in Tommy’s tale.

From Opinion LA:

1) Don Drysdale didn’t pitch on June 6, he pitched on June 8.

1) Tommy Lasorda that year managed a team in … Ogden, Utah.

2) Why would the Next President of the United States single out a little-known minor league manager for a meet-and-greet on a day of some, you know, importance?

3) Would Tommy ever actually turn down a free meal, no matter how tight his shoes were that day?

Of course, after the LA Times pointed out the errors in Lasorda’s yarn, it was up to the rest of the blogosphere to point out the errors in the Opinion LA post, prompting the following correction:

* So yes, Drysdale did pitch that day, contrary to the original post. But it was a night game. Retrosheet, however, doesn’t list the starting time; if weeknight games started the same as now, it would have been 7:00 or 7:30 … which means Tommy would have been late for dinner in the best case. A 5:30 game, though, would have him out the door by 7:50….

* Kennedy was shot just after midnight. Tommy testifies that “When we got home, we turned on the TV and saw that Kennedy had been shot.” Keep in mind that he left the game early, because of “hurt feet.” Even assuming that the start time was 7:30, what was Tommy Lasorda doing between 9:30 and midnight?? Surely traffic wasn’t that bad in the summer of ’68, no matter how bad the hippies were.

* Yes, Tommy managed the Ogden Dodgers that year (you’ll want to stop at this point, and click on that link), but the season probably didn’t start until late June, giving Tommy access to the scene of the crime.

Obviuosly, this is a very complicated story. But it does seem unlikely that Lasorda ever had a dinner date with Robert Kennedy. As Wonkette points out, “There is no conceivable reason why the soon-to-be elected president accepting the Dem nomination in Los Angeles would also be asking to meet a rookie manager from Utah.”

True.

4 Responses to “Lasorda lying about date with RFK?”

  1. Sarah Green says:

    No, Nick, you are not alone. I had never heard of Pedro Jr either! This is crazy! Do you think Pedro could be older than he says he is?

  2. Nick Kapur says:

    Yeah, I’m wondering about that too! We know how so many of those Dominicans turned out to be so much older than they actually were, and those were just the ones that got caught.

    Plus, the way Pedro keeps saying, “I’m not going to pitch until I’m 40 – I want to spend time with my family.” But maybe the real truth is that he actually is almost nearing 40 already.

  3. Sarah Green says:

    Yeah, maybe that’s why his arm has been hanging by a thread these past few years. Maybe there’s a little box of Just for Men in his medicine cabinet!

  4. Nick Kapur says:

    Great post, Coley, thanks a lot for this!

    But we must remember that Tommy Lasorda never “lies”.  Rather, he is a storyteller, in the grand tradition of the Homeric bards, and like those whimsical wordsmiths of yore his tales go on and on interminably into the sunset, or until the interviewer cuts off his mike.  Just as the great Achilles once bled red on the fields at Troy, Tommy’s heroes bleed Dodger Blue on the fields at Chavez Ravine.

    Of course it must also be noted that unlike your typical Vergilian epic, Tommy’s odes to baseball tend to be expletive-filled and disporportionately emphasize his own heroism, no matter who the story is nominally supposed to be about.

    But to go so far as to call them “lies”?  You must swear on the Great Blue Dodger in the Sky never to think in such a wrongheaded manner again.

    * * *

    Oh and while we are on the subject of the inimitable Tommy Lasorda, we should all take this opportunity to walk down ‘Memory Lane’ and think back fondly upon the lovely expletive-laced tirades Tommy gave us in the springtime of our youths, as recorded faithfully over at Everything2.

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